It is a bittersweet feeling to bid farewell to our first class of Urban Agriculture interns. We are saddened to see them go, after they spent the past six months becoming part of our Inter-Faith Food Shuttle family. However, we are so proud of everything they have accomplished and are looking forward to watching them continue to grow (pun intended). Learn about their journey, in their own words:
Every day was a challenge, especially dealing with the heat in the summertime. But in the end I gained a lot of knowledge, a lot of resources, a lot of help. I met new people and learned how to start my own business
Day by day it became a better program as we worked through it together. We started communicating more, getting to know one another. We worked as a team, not as individuals.
Overall it was a long road that required dedication and a lot of time. You need to put time into your rows before you can get crops. It wasn’t easy but in the end you get a beautiful garden and a lot of profit.
I grew up on a farm, but I’d never planted anything. When I started planting here, I learned to put in three seeds at a time. It seemed strange to me, but it works out.
I also learned how to eat healthy food. My main focus for this was to help my community eat better. We live in a food desert. The nearest grocery stores are 3-4 miles away. But now I can show them how to plant vegetables.
We live on a low income and can’t really afford to buy healthy things like greens and fruit. But we can get seeds and we can grow healthy vegetables. Next we can teach younger generations and help end violence.
I was able to meet so many people, see the ideas, build up relationships with my teachers and peers. That made the whole experience worthwhile, and encouraging, and uplifting. It benefited me. I learned how to grow sustainable food.
One of the most exciting projects I worked on was a lesson on Bokashi composting – how to make it, where it originated from. Ever since then, we started using the material to build up the rows, using the Bokashi compost to put nutrients and life back into the soil. Composing and making my own soil is pretty useful and something I’ll take with me from this program.
I came into the program in order to learn how to grow organically. As the owner of a mini-farm I wanted to provide organically grown vegetables to my clients and family. I successfully learned this through the Urban Ag intern program. I’m going to take the valuable knowledge that I learned, like vermicomposting. I was the type of farmer that I tilled, but I’ve learned a new way. And that’s what it’s all about.
I thank the management for their resources and support. I appreciate the teachers. It was very challenging. We had deadlines we had to make, and we made them. It wasn’t easy, but it’s a serious business. It’s nothing you take lightly and just joke. If you’re trying to get your crop out there and make money then you’ve got to be serious about what you’re doing.
About IFFS Urban Agriculture Training:
IFFS works with adults in Southeast Raleigh, teaching them to grow and raise vegetables. This serves as one method among many to increase food security in Southeast Raleigh, supporting the creation of a more a self-sufficient and food secure community. To support IFFS Urban Agriculture Training, donate here.